By Seth Fera-Schanes
I find myself heading north into upper Manhattan more and more for great food options. Washington Heights has a range of Latin America restaurants covering Dominican, Mexican and of course Salvadorian (amongst others.)
I would also say the best pineapple upside down cake in the city is found at 5 Estrella Bakery on 161st Street and Broadway (which is easily accessible by the 1, A and C lines.) Not only is the cake moist, flavorful and all around delicious but for around $1.75/piece it’s the best value in town. Full Access recommended bakery (times 10.)
Back to the task at hand. La Libertad, a Salvadorian restaurant located between 156th and 157th streets on Broadway is by itself worth a trip to the neighborhood. Peruse the menu and everything starts popping off the page as a must order. I was there for lunch and kept things simple with a bean and cheese pupusa and chicken soup. I think soups in general (and definitely chicken soup) provide good insight into a countries food culture. This soup was nicely spiced with just a little heat and included pieces of Chayote. The pupusa was gone in 15 seconds (and it wasn’t small) so I will use that as an indicator for my feelings on that dish. What really stood out was the side of cole slaw that came with the papusa. I am not sure if it was a cultural recipe but it ranks in my top 5 cole slaw experiences of all time. The slaw had a vinegar base and fresh herbs that just jump around my mouth at every bite.
I definitely recommend making the trip uptown to experience this great restaurant for yourself.